FREDERICK WINSLOW TAYLOR
Frederick Winslow Taylor is known as the “father of scientific management.” Many of his theories are too autocratic for today’s workplace, but during the early years of the twentieth century, Taylor helped make factories more efficient and productive. His books were known around the world, and he became a symbol of America’s industrial power.
Taylor was born on March 20, 1856, in Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the second of three children. His father, Franklin, was a lawyer and a poet whho had inherited great wealth based on the ownership of farms and other properties in Philadelphia and Bucks County. His mother, Emily Winslow Taylor, was a staunch abolitionist who worked with American reformer Lucretia Mott.
Winslow Taylor family was puritanically disciplined, and his mother played the key role in his education work ethic. That is why Frederick became a man preoccupied with control. He had an obsessive-compulsive character and was driven by a relentless need to tie down and master almost evvery aspect of his life. His activities at home, in the garden, and on the golf course, as well as at work were dominated by programs and schedules, planned in detail and rigidly followed. Even his afternoon walks were carefully la
In 1872, after two years of schooling in France and Germany, followed by eighteen months of travel in Europe, he entered Phillips Exeter Academy at Exeter, N. H., to prepare for the Harvard Law School. Though he graduated with his class two years later, his eyesight had become in the meantime so impaired that he had to abandon further study. In 1874, Taylor began work as an apprentice machinist at the Enterprise Hydraulics Works, also known as Ferrell an
His inventions during these years effecting improvements in machinery and manufacturing methods were many, the outstanding one being the design and construction of the largest successful steam hammer ever built in the United States.
His next decade at Midvale was spent in careful, scientific study of production and worker resentment problems. He wanted to increase output without having to drive the workers.
He had in addition worked out a comprehensive system of analysis, classification, and symbolization to be used in the study of every type of manufacturing organization. For five years he successfully applied his theory in a variety of establishments, administrative and sales departments as well as shops. In 1898 he was retained exclusively for that purpose by the Bethlehem Steel Company, Bethlehem, Pa. In the course of his work th
In 1881 Taylor published an essay on metal cutting that generated a great deal of attention by engineers because of its rigorous ex
In 1911 he published “The Principles of Scientific Management and submitted to Congress a report entitled” ‘Taylor System’ of Shop Management”. He received about one hundred patents for various inventions during his lifetime. For his process of treating high speed tool steels he received a personal gold medal at the Paris exposition in 1900, and was awarded the Elliott Cresson gold medal that same year by the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia.
Taylor married Louise M. Spooner in 1884. In 1901, they adopted the three youngest of four children who had survived the murder-suicide of their parents, William and Anna Aiken, distant relatives of Taylor’s wife.
In 1881, Taylor and his brother-in-law, Clarence M. Clark, were the first doubles champions of the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association. Taylor was also a golfer, ice skater, and cricket player, and among his forty-five patents were ones for a scoop-handled tennis racket and a two-handed putter. In 1910, Taylor’s wife first manifested cyclic depression, which had a strong, adverse effect on him. During a lecture tour in Ohio in early 1915, Taylor caught a cold that developed into pneumonia; he died on March 21, 1915, after being hospitalized for nine days. He left an estate valued at approximately $1,000,000, none of which he had inherited. He was buried in Philadelphia and the epitaph on his tombstone reads “Father of Scientific Management.”